Chapter XVII: Are you going to shoot?
"The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love." ~ William Shakespeare
Hotch shook his head in disappointment. He should have thought of him sooner. But how could he think that the missing pieces were Emily and… Shakespeare?
Father Paul Silvano, the priest that killed Emily's friend and two more people while performing exorcisms. They never had an extensive investigation on his actions. Obviously he was involved in more crimes than the mission he had taken up himself. Emily had stopped him back then. She had told him that she was hanging out with Gloria. They had been in Soho plenty of times. Even if through Gloria they had made the connection, the reason they were in London was Emily. She was the target that the first UnSub had missed and had started killing randomly, attacking that pregnant woman.
That's when the mistake was made and 'the English squad' –as Garcia was calling them– started cornering them. They couldn't escape. The head of this unreasonable mission against sinners knew that they would finally find him at the end. He eliminated his partners and he was for the final chapter. At that moment the priest had caught his main target. He was there to make a final point. Hotch had barely made it on time, thanks to Gloria's thoughts.
Hotch couldn't wait for back up. He didn't know how long the priest was in Emily's room. He didn't even know, if Emily was already hurt. That thought made his heart skip one more bit. If Emily was hurt, he was pretty aware that he wouldn't be able to hold his temper, like just the other time with Haley. He held the gun firmer in his hand. The door wasn't fully closed, so he had a way in without alerting the whole hotel too early or causing any general panic. However that only meant one thing, that the priest was expecting him, him or Gloria.
He took a breath and pushed it lightly. The sooner someone got there, the better were the chances for Emily to come out unhurt. No, that time he wasn't going to let the story end the same way.
"Father Paul Silvano," he called.
What Hotch saw made it harder for him to remain calm. The priest was at the left corner of the room. He was holding Emily, covering himself behind her, pressing a gun to her head and Emily was apparently dizzy and half-conscious. She was barely standing up.
"Agent Hotchner. I was expecting you. What happened? Did you finally decide that you can't stay away from this woman?"
That UnSub had sensed something before. He was going to use it. Hotch was sure of that…
"Hotch…" Emily called him with not so much strength in her voice.
Hotch tried too hard to concentrate and let his training and the profiler in him kick in. He couldn't see any wounds on her. That priest had used some kind of drug in spraying water, before. Maybe he had done something similar now. Otherwise, Emily was a fighter, she would have had him on the ground by now.
"Don't worry, Agent Hotchner. Emily is just feeling weak," the priest told him in his unsettling smooth tone, noticing his eyes checking Emily.
"Let her go," he ordered.
"Or what? Are you going to kill me?" the priest asked him, untouched.
"I can promise you that," he warned him dangerously.
Hotch had his gun aiming at the priest. But he didn't have a clear shot. He couldn't shoot without risking Emily's life. He was completely hidden behind her. Silvano's hand holding the gun was covering his head and he wasn't completely still. There was a high possibility for her to get caught between the bullet and the UnSub. And nothing could guarantee him that the priest wouldn't press his trigger falling. He knew that there wasn't a civilian in the priest's hands, but another agent. He had to take the shot at the best moment, whatever the cost. But he couldn't bring himself to that.
"Are you, really, going to shoot, Agent Hotchner?" the priest told him, pretty aware of what was going on. "Can you?"
"Hotch, it's ok," Emily tried to cut him off and Hotch saw trust in her eyes, trust that, whatever happened to her, it wouldn't be his fault.
"Can you be responsible for another woman's that you love death?" the UnSub carried on.
"He doesn't love me," Emily replied.
Hotch didn't know how much she believed it or she just said it to make the priest fear that, in any way, he was going to end up dead.
"That's what you believe, Emily?" the priest smiled to her creepily and he turned to him. "I just came here to have a talk. I want to bring some peace. Drop your gun, Agent Hotchner, because if you shoot I plan to take her with me, even if I don't really like the use of guns."
Emily saw the doubt in his eyes. The priest was right. He would never be able to carry on with his life, if he caused Emily's death. The trained agent and the man in love were having a battle inside him. And the latter won. He couldn't risk her life. He just couldn't. He would prefer to die to save her or die with her than to hold her dead body like he had done with Haley. So he lowered the gun.
"OK," he said.
"No…" Emily whispered and there was fear in her eyes, fear not for herself, but for him.
His action made it too easy for the priest to just kill them on the spot, both of them. But among Hotch's feelings, his profiling knowledge told him that indeed the priest wasn't going to use the gun to kill them, if not forced to. He was ritualizing the killings. The gun was just too easy, too quick and too brutal. If he was going to use any kind of chemicals, they were in trouble, he had a gun or not. But Hotch could buy some time. Back up was on its way. He didn't know, however, if it could actually help…
"Drop it and kick it towards me," the UnSub instructed.
Hotch complied and his gun slid to the left. Silvano smiled.
"Not exactly what you are trained to do. Am I right?" he said raising an eybrow.
"You are," Hotch admitted.
"I've told you before, Agent Hotchner. 'There is no Evil Angel but Love.' For love we neglect what he have learned, what we are obliged to do. Do you remember?"
That tendency to quote Shakespeare: "There is no evil angel but love". That was what had helped Hotch figure out who was their third UnSub. His mind flashed back to the night they were driving that same priest to the DC airport:
"You took too many risks to cancel my immunity, Agent Hotchner," the priest told him at some point during the ride.
"Someone had to stop you," Morgan answered but the priest's attention was only on Hotch.
"You should really appreciate that agent of yours, that Emily."
"Gladly for all of us, she was right about you," Morgan continued answering without acknowledging why the priest was ignoring him.
"Agent Hotchner, there is only one thing that forces people to overcome their limits, no matter how these limits are called: procedures, rules or ethics: Love." Hotch gave him a look through the rear mirror. "And "there is no evil angel, but love"," the priest finished.
didn't answer. There was no point to feed the priest's speculations.
Maybe he didn't want to dig more into himself to find the truth beneath
the phrase. Rossi had pressed him back then but it was actually him that
had agreed to take on the responsibility and deal with any consequencies.
Morgan threw him a curious, short look but he never brought the subject up again.
"I do," Hotch admitted.
"Do you know the first part of that quote?"
"They do not love that do not show their love," Hotch quoted.
"And now you prefer to die with her, instead of provoking her death. For the monster that you have in you, you are making a great step," the priest remarked, based on the discusion he had listened to when he hacked the security system of the Office. He used that tone that the priests used to give advice and courage. But considering what he had done and what he intended to do only made it darker and sicker.
"What do you want, Silvano?" he asked, wanting to change the direction of the conversation away from the fact that he just showed his love, the love that he was hiding for so long, letting Emily think that there was nothing there.
"I kept looking for you Emily but since my last visit in the US, I couldn't get a visa," Silvano started turning to Emily. "But then I learnt that you left to work with that blonde man looking for the woman we thought that we had already sent where she needed to go. And then I found you and her, who was finally still alive. Now I can give you and Agent Hotchner a chance for redemption."
"He has nothing to do with you," Emily spoke, certainly afraid of what that 'redemption' meant.
"Oh no. He has. Even if I am too thankful to God for bringing you again in my way, I'm glad that He brought him too. You wouldn't have stopped me before, if it wasn't him."
That was an advantage, Hotch thought. The UnSub wasn't only focused on Emily. He could be satisfied with just him. The priest was planning to kill them in one way or another and even if back up was coming, they had to burst through that door and shoot instantly. He had to make the priest let Emily go. That was the priority.
"So is that what you give to the people you kill? Redemption?" Hotch asked.
"I am sending them to a better place", he answered. Of course. He had the same illusion he had when he was killing people during those exorcisms.
"You changed the way of making that happen, though," Hotch kept up the conversation.
"For a man to kill a God's worker, a priest, to attack the church, agent Hotchner, something too evil should have entered his spirit. It should be removed. That's why I performed exorcisms first. The rest, they were just sinners, people committing evil actions. I give them back what they lose by sinning, their angel's wings."
"Dying doesn't sound too much as redemption to me," Emily spoke more forcefully. Hotch was getting the idea that her dozing off was starting to subside. That was good.
"Your friend should have told you, Emily. Just before you die you feel relieved. Anything that you have done doesn't matter anymore. This is the redemption."
Hotch noticed Emily's eyes darkening. She knew that feeling. She had asked Morgan to let her go, to find relief, to rest. He rushed to speak.
"There is another form of redemption, Father. Forgiveness."
"Who is going to forgive you for what you have done, agent Hotchner?"
"No one. But I can forgive Emily."
"Are you going to forgive her for sleeping with an Irish terrorist for profit? Forgive a whore for selling her own body? As what?" the priest answered with great interest. At least Hotch had gotten his attention.
Hotch felt disgust with the priest's words. This wasn't Emily. This wasn't his Emily.
"As her ex-boss I should have accused her of hiding vital issues, as her friend of lying and as… as a man that loves her of betrayal," he locked his eyes with hers that were staring at him in surprise. He needed her to know that he meant every last word that he was about to say.
"I can forgive her as all the three of them…"
He wanted to say those things under much different circumstances, not with her life in danger, not with his own life on the line, not knowing if they would have a second chance to say those same words.
"But I never thought of her in that way. I think I had already forgiven her, before anything crossed my mind. I made mistakes but these were my faults…" his voice trailed off.
Tears had starting running down Emily's face. She had sensed his love the moment he gave up that gun but hearing him just made it too real.
"She had her redemption. Let her go and keep me," he added averting his eyes from Emily and looking at the priest who was watching them.
Still crying Emily shook her head negatively. She wasn't planning to let him sacrifice himself.
"Father, I know that feeling, the relief you are talking about," she admitted. "I need it. He doesn't. He is too hard on himself for what he has done to save his own son, to do the right thing! There is no way to blame that on him!" she voiced louder.
'Is that what you are looking for? A way to blame this on him?' She had used the same words during Strauss' interrogation. Hotch had read the reports. The woman that he loved always had his back, whatever he had done in his life. And at that moment she was trying to save this life.
"He has no monster in him! He is a great, brave man and a loving, sweet father!" she continued.
The priest was watching them with amusement, as they were trying to save one another and at the same time putting an end to a torture of years, giving each other the, so sickly violated by the priest, meaning of redemption. Suddenly the sound from a police siren came from the outside. The back up had just arrived and someone didn't follow the order, that certainly was there, to be discrete. The priest moved a little towards the window, still covered, getting surprised. He hadn't counted the possibility of Hotch having called the police. Emily took advantage of the situation and she tried to escape, starting struggling but he moved his free arm to her throat pressing it hard, causing another rush of panic to run through Hotch's veins.
The things were getting worse to worse. Now the priest knew that he was trapped.
"You have no way out, anymore!" Hotch spoke sternly. "Give up if you want to come out alive."
"Who's said you that I plan to come out alive anymore, Agent Hotchner?", the priest replied. That was exactly what Hotch was afraid of. "And you are going to be the last part of my mission."
"I agree with you, Father," another known voice came from behind.
Hotch was surrounded by a smell that existed around him till the moment he landed in that country. Only at that moment he noticed it consciously, the smell of expensive perfume mixed with tobacco.
"No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from." ~ George Eliot